In recent years, “dark tourism” (visitation of cemeteries, battlefields, ghost towns, haunted buildings, etcetera) has become popular within the heritage tourism community due to the popularity of books such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Devil in the White City. The term “dark tourism” was first coined in 1996 by Professors John Lennon and Malcolm Foley of Glasgow Caledonian University, Department of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management.
|Anne Marie Cannon of Silver Queen Walking Tours|
(Image courtesy of Mountain Living magazine)
Here in Georgetown, Colorado, Silver Queen Walking Tours offers three themed guided walking tours, and according to owner/operator Anne Marie Cannon, her “Georgetown Ghost Tour” is the most popular experience no matter the time of year.
Once viewed as a distraction from the scholarly study and appreciation of historic places, many professionals now accept (and even invite) tourists who were once viewed as a nuisance because of their interest in paranormal and macabre subjects.
Hotel de Paris Museum is no exception from the interest of dark tourism visitors. Our staff is often asked about ghosts and hauntings, especially leading up to and through the month of October, and Visit Clear Creek has designated Hotel de Paris Museum “certified haunted.”
|Marquee on Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris|
(Image courtesy of Clear Creek County Tourism Bureau)
Hotel de Paris Museum falls into a type of dark tourism known as “supernatural tourism.” Therefore, Anne Marie Cannon put me in touch with paranormal investigator and filmmaker Alan Megargle who came to the hotel in 2018 with team member Anna Meyer Evans to help answer the question, “Is the hotel haunted?”
Leading up to the visit by these paranormal investigators, staff reported encountering smells with no apparent source. The list includes coffee, bread, frosting, oranges, cinnamon, curry, perfume, and cigars. A quick inspection of receipts belonging to proprietor Louis Dupuy indicates all these items were purchased by him. Other otherworldly experiences have been indistinct sounds of people moving about in the Commercial Kitchen and on the 2nd Floor, the wild swinging of velvet ropes around cordoned off areas, the loud clattering of dishes and silverware in the Restaurant Dining Room, and an insistent rattling of a doorknob in the Hotel Laundry.
|Louis Dupuy's order included oranges|
Megargle’s team brought high-tech equipment to detect additional activity. They used a REM Pod (to detect magnetic fields), flashlights (for spirits to interact with), an EVP (to capture electronic voice phenomena), a spirit box (to generate white noise that allows spirit voices to come through to the physical world), and an Ovilus (to produce words from environmental factors). Our word list included cold, chest, hurt, remember, scruple, haze, papa, calm, beg, drive, and Tesla (perhaps Nikola Tesla, who visited Georgetown sometime from May 1899 to early 1900).
|"Ghosts in Ghost Towns" explores the eerie remains of the mining boom, the stories of the people who lived there, and the subsequent spirits that still haunt the towns of the Wild West.|
Ultimately, Alan and Anna determined Louis Dupuy’s Hotel de Paris is peaceful and has a residual haunting, not an intelligent haunting. See their investigation in the documentary Ghosts in Ghost Towns: Haunting the Wild West.
Interested in visiting to find out for yourself? Guided tour reservations available at hoteldeparismuseum.org. Open weekends only in October and November.